Customers of the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op who use their own grocery bags are helping to donate funds to local charities. Money that would be spent by the co-0p on buying paper or plastic bags instead goes to charity. Almost $5,000 has been contributed to charities since the program started last year.
Here is the press release from Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op.
Roanoke, Va. (Dec. 19, 2011) – The Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op has released figures from a year-old program that allows shoppers who use their own grocery bags to fund local charities while preventing thousands of disposable paper and plastic bags from landing in local landfills. Just a year after launching the program, the Co-op estimates the program has kept nearly 60,000 bags out of the trash, while nearly $5,000 has been contributed to local charities.
Co-op Director Bruce Phlegar says the program is straightforward. “If shoppers opt to use their own, re-usable shopping bag it saves the Co-op money that would have been spent on traditional paper or plastic grocery bags. We wanted to help the environment and local charities, by channeling our savings to agencies that need and deserve extra income.”
Phlegar explained that customers receive a poker chip every time they use their own bag instead of one provided by the store. Customers drop their chips into bins near the exit. Each bin is labeled with the name of a local not-for-profit organization. At the end of the month, the Co-op pays the charity a nickel for every chip.
The charities are changed every month and cover a wide range of agencies from the arts to social agencies to those who help animals. Not surprisingly, Toys for Tots has been the most popular during the holiday season.
“What’s interesting is that children really think about which organization most deserves that nickel. They ask their parents lots of questions, forcing the parents to think about the various causes more than they might have,” said Phlegar.
Phlegar says the Co-op has been tracking the numbers for just over a year, and each month has seen an increase in re-usable bags.
About Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op: Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op has served the Roanoke Valley since 1975, providing the community with nutritious food choices and earth-friendly products. Roanoke Natural Foods supports sustainable environmental practices, local organic farmers, local businesses, and its surrounding community. Products at Roanoke Natural Foods contain no artificial colorants, preservatives, or additives. In addition to providing families with high-quality organic and natural products, Roanoke Natural Foods supports local efforts to preserve the integrity and health of our natural resources and community.